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Hamlet (1996 movie)

From Academic Kids

Hamlet is a 1996 film version of William Shakespeare's classic play of the same name, adapted and directed by Kenneth Branagh, who also starred in the title role. Derek Jacobi and Julie Christie were King Claudius and Queen Gertrude, Kate Winslet was Ophelia, Richard Briers was Polonius, and Nicholas Farrell was Horatio.

It is notable for being the first unabridged screen version of the play, running for slightly over four hours. (A shorter edit, approximately two-and-a-half hours long, was shown in some markets.)

Branagh set the film with Victorian era costuming and furnishings. (Blenheim Palace, built in the early 18th century, became Elsinore Castle in the external scenes).

The film is very visual; most of the play's many monologues and soliloquies are accompanied by silent flashbacks or dream sequences depicting the events being spoken of. (Hamlet's famous reminiscence of the jester Yorick, for instance, is accompanied by a flashback depicting the man himself performing for the child Hamlet.) It also has the distinction of being the last film (as of Spring 2005) to have been shot entirely with 65 mm film.

Another notable aspect of the film was the large number of celebrity cameos; seemingly no role was too small to be played by a star (Gerard Depardieu's turn as the servant Reynaldo, who appears only briefly in a single scene and is often left out of abridged versions of the play, is a case in point). The flashbacks and dream sequences even allow for celebrities appearing as characters that usually don't appear in the play at all, including Sir John Gielgud and Dame Judi Dench as Priam and Hecuba (mentioned in the monologue performed by the First Player on his arrival at Elsinore) and Ken Dodd as the aforementioned Yorick. Other appearances by well-known actors include Charlton Heston as the First Player/Player King, Robin Williams as the courtier Osric, Richard Attenborough as the English Ambassador, Brian Blessed as the ghost of Hamlet's father, and Jack Lemmon as Marcellus, the palace guard. Billy Crystal made a notable appearance as the gravedigger.

See also: Hamlet (the Shakespearean play and the many subsequent movies)

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